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Spatial oxygen heterogeneity in a Hediste diversicolor irrigated burrow

Abstract : The heterogeneity of oxygen distribution in a Hediste diversicolor burrow environment was investigated in a laboratory experiment using a 6-mm thick tank equipped with oxygen planar optodes. The twodimensional oxygen distribution in a complete burrow was monitored every 2 min for 4 h. Oxygen concentrations fluctuated over a scale of minutes in the burrow lumen and wall (up to 2 mm) reflecting the balance between worm ventilation activity and oxygen consumption. The magnitude of the three surrounding micro-horizons (oxic, oscillating and anoxic) induced by the intermittent worm ventilation was spatially and temporally variable within the structure. Oxygen variations appeared to be controlled by distance from the sediment–water interface and the direction of water circulation. Moreover, there was an apparent ‘buffer effect’, induced by the proximity to the overlyingwater, which reduced the variations of lumen and wall oxygen in the upper part of the structure. These results highlight the heterogeneous distribution and dynamics of oxygen associated with H. diversicolor burrows and ventilation activity. They also highlight the necessity of integrating this complexity into the current burrow-base models in order to estimate the ecological importance of burrowing species in coastal ecosystems.
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Laura Pischedda, Philippe Cuny, Josã© Luis Esteves, Jean-Christophe Poggiale, Franck Gilbert. Spatial oxygen heterogeneity in a Hediste diversicolor irrigated burrow. Hydrobiologia, Springer, 2012, vol. 680, pp.109-124. ⟨10.1007/s10750-011-0907-x⟩. ⟨hal-00780258⟩

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